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About Dream Wife
With their brashly catchy mix of punk and pop and proudly feminist viewpoint, Dream Wife continue the empowering lineage of the Slits, Debbie Harry, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Le Tigre. Thanks to their clever songwriting and abundant hooks -- and Rakel Mjöll's ability to shift from a coo to a howl in an instant -- Dream Wife's manifestos about gender roles, body image, and identity feel thrilling rather than pedantic. Early releases like 2016's EP1 and 2018's Dream Wife emphasized their punk firepower, but on 2020's So When You Gonna…, their scope grew to include tender slow songs and rarely mentioned topics such as miscarriages. While their music evolved, Dream Wife's commitment to women and non-binary people never wavered as they supported charities such as Girls Rock London and worked with all-female creative teams.
Dream Wife began in 2014 as the art project of Mjöll, guitarist Alice Go, and bassist Bella Podpadec while all three were in art school in Brighton, England. Born in Iceland, Mjöll spent eight years in California before returning to her homeland, where she took opera and jazz vocal lessons in Reykjavík as a teen. Go grew up playing guitar in various bands, and met Podpadec at a Battle of the Bands in Somerset prior to forming Dream Wife. Podpadec learned to play bass for the project, which took its name from Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr's 1953 romantic comedy and its musical inspiration from the likes of David Bowie, Madonna, Le Tigre, and Sleigh Bells.
Following a performance at an art gallery and a This Is Spinal Tap-like mockumentary, in which the trio portrayed a '90s-inspired band with dreams of touring Canada, Dream Wife was so successful as an art project that it became a real-life band. The trio moved to London after graduation and played live shows -- including a 2015 D.I.Y. tour of Canada with a drum machine -- regularly. To make their debut EP, Dream Wife recruited Go's father as their drummer and recorded at her parents' house. Arriving in March 2016 on Cannibal Hymns, EP1 introduced their gritty yet poppy sound. More short-form releases, including the following September's Fire EP (so named because all three members are fire signs in astrology), appeared before the January 2018 release of their self-titled debut album on Lucky Number. Dream Wife earned widespread acclaim and the band toured extensively for over a year with drummer Alex Paveley, performing gigs with Sunflower Bean, the Kills, and Garbage and embarking on their first U.S. tour. For these dates and their headlining tour of the U.K., they selected seven female and non-binary acts to support them. In October 2019, they issued a mixtape of songs by those bands as Alice Go - Tour Support Reimagined, which benefitted Girls Rock London.
Aside from an appearance at Singapore's all-female Alex Blake Charlie Sessions Festival, Dream Wife spent much of 2019 writing their second album at Podpadec's home studio. When it was time to record, the band assembled an all-female recording team that included producer Marta Salogni (Holly Herndon, FKA twigs), engineer Grace Banks (Marika Hackman), and mastering engineer Heba Kadry (Princess Nokia, Beach House), to work at London Fields' Pony Studios. Arriving in July 2020, So When You Gonna… balanced Dream Wife's punk brashness with reflective ballads and touched on topics such as abortion, miscarriage, and gender equality. ~ Heather Phares